Posted by Audiegrl
Huffington Post/Nancy Northup—It’s never a good idea to look to primetime television for a fair and accurate depiction of the abortion debate. Without fail, TV writers stretch the facts for dramatic effect, oversimplifying choices. Last Friday’s Law & Order episode was no exception. The show’s “balanced and thought-provoking” take on abortion — based on the murder of Dr. George Tiller this past spring — was both damagingly trite and dangerously wrong.
Salon writer Kate Harding got it right when she pointed out earlier this week, that the issue of abortion is not nearly as simple as the NBC show portrayed. The show’s character, Dr. Benning, provides abortions later in pregnancy, like Dr. Tiller, and was shot in his church after surviving a prior shooting, also like Dr. Tiller. With that, the similarities end.
Enter instead a parade of caricatures: the pro-life character whose his own mother didn’t want him and attempted to self-induce. The pro-choice female character who suddenly tosses out her lifelong beliefs and leans pro-life. And another doctor who provides abortions and ultimately reveals on the stand that he’s a raving extremist. None of these narratives have anything to do with the lives of women. Nor do they remotely penetrate the everyday experiences of the doctors and clinic staff who provide abortion.
We recently conducted research investigating the challenges abortion providers face merely to do their jobs, chronicling the appalling circumstances in which providers operate, including regular death threats, dead animals being left at their front doors, break-ins at their homes and offices, and physical assaults by protesters. They live in fear of violence.